Reigning Champions Leeds Rhinos will have to wait until 2021 to defend their titles after the RFL last week announced that the two leading Women’s competitions – Super League and the Challenge Cup – will not go ahead this year.
The Betfred Women’s Super League season was due to kick off at the weekend after the UK went into lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, while the Coral Challenge Cup, which had already seen the first round played, was meant to culminate with the final played as a triple header alongside the men’s semi-finals. But again that competition has been hugely affected by Covid-19.
Instead the RFL has announced that training sessions for the England Senior Women and new England Knights squads will take place across September and October at bases in Yorkshire and in Lancashire, while under the RFL Return to Play Guidance, all women’s teams will have the opportunity to play local friendly fixtures in October.
Whilst disappointed at the decision, Rhinos coach Lois Forsell believes it was the right call for the long-term future of the game.
“The girls have all worked really hard during lockdown, so it’s a huge disappointment for them that they won’t be able to get out there this year,” Forsell told League Express.
“We wanted to keep the momentum going, both our momentum and that of the game as a whole. The game has grown hugely over the last few years and got to a much higher point.
“It’s a massive shame we’re not playing this year, but it’s a smart move.
“The girls have had a long time out since the end of last season and if we were to rush it back now with a much shortened season, you wouldn’t get the same level of product as we were getting last year, because it got better week on week.
“A shortened season that maybe wouldn’t have been as competitive as it could have wouldn’t have been the best thing for the game or the welfare of the players.
“The RFL, Super League and the World Cup team have all been working together and they all have the same vision for our game. They have pushed to get the best solution for the Women’s competitions and World Cup plans – and it’s this.”
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